A screenshot of Rich Coleman’s deleted tweet. (Twitter/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

A screenshot of Rich Coleman’s deleted tweet. (Twitter/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Former cabinet minister Coleman deletes inaccurate tweet downplaying COVID-19 death rate

The tweet drew harsh criticism on social media

Former Langley East MLA Rich Coleman tweeted and then deleted a meme that downplayed the risk of dying from the COVID-19 virus.

On Boxing Day, Dec. 26, Coleman tweeted a meme that asked “How will we know if the vaccines are working? Will the survival rate go up from 99.5% to 99.7%?”

He deleted the original tweet that evening, saying online that “on reflection thought it wasn’t that funny. My bad.”

Coleman, who was the Liberal MLA for Fort Langley-Aldergrove and then Langley East from 1996 to earlier this year, was deluged with criticism on the social media site both before and after he deleted the inaccurate tweet.

Coleman did not run for re-election, and the Langley East seat is currently held by NDP MLA Megan Dykeman following the October provincial election.

“Sometimes you don’t get it right, and I didn’t,” Coleman told the Langley Advance Times Monday.

“It wasn’t me trying to make any comment about vaccines, because I’m a a big supporter of vaccines,” Coleman said.

He said he apologized for the earlier tweet.

The total death rate from coronavirus in B.C., according to the BC Centre for Disease Control statistics is not 0.5 per cent or 0.3 per cent, as the original tweet suggested, but 1.66 per cent, with the survival rate 98.44 per cent.

To put that into perspective, if 1.66 per cent of British Columbia’s population of 5.07 million people died, that would be more than 84,000 deaths – equal to more than half the total population of Langley.

The death rate from COVID-19 is not evenly distributed.

There have been almost no deaths among British Columbians under 40 years old, even though more 20 to 29 year olds have contracted the virus than any other age group.

But starting at middle age, the threat of hospitalization and death rises sharply.

B.C.’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, presented a slide in her Dec. 23 briefing showing that among 60 to 69 year olds who tested positive for COVID-19, the death rate was more than five per cent.

Those aged 70 to 79 had a nearly 20 per cent chance of dying, and the death rate was about 40 per cent for 80 to 89 year olds.

In Langley Lodge’s outbreak, one of the worst in the province, 25 residents of 51 who contracted the disease died. In addition to being a death rate of almost 50 per cent, the outbreak killed more than 17 per cent of the approximately 140 residents in the entire facility.

More recently, Langley has seen outbreaks at the Fort Langley Seniors Community that killed 11 people and in Langley Memorial Hospital killing 10.

Vaccinations began in B.C. in mid-December, with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines approved and now being deployed. But public health experts and authorities have been concerned about misinformation making people hesitant to get vaccinated, thus making the population more vulnerable and drawing out the pandemic.

READ MORE: Langley Lodge outbreak raises questions about outbreak that killed 25

.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: news@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

AldergroveCoronavirusFort LangleyLangley Advance

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fraser Health issued an overdose alert on Jan. 21, 2021 after an increase in overdoses over the past week in Chilliwack associated with a “greeny-blue/turquoise down substance.” (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Fraser Health issues drug overdose alert in Chilliwack

Alert comes after increase in overdoses associated with ‘greeny-blue/turquoise down substance’

ds
Mission potbellied-pig sanctuary mourns death of beloved old hog named Roscoe

14-year-old, 800-pound pig was ‘quite a character,’ said owner Janice Gillett

Chilliwack Chiefs forward Sasha Teleguine, seen here with Thayer Academy, is on the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau updated watch list. (Twitter photo)
Chilliwack Chief Sasha Teleguine holds spot on Central Scouting Bureau’s watch list

Teleguine and Prince George forward Finlay Williams are viewed as potential late round NHL picks

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA holds a webinar on Jan. 26 titled Staying Safe Online.
‘Staying Safe Online’ is subject of Fraser Valley webinar

Session on Tuesday, Jan. 26 is hosted by non-profit Circles of Support and Accountability

Sheets of plastic are seen near pools of water around a landscaped area of the Molson Coors Fraser Valley Brewery in Chilliwack on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Complaints come in about the look of Molson Coors Fraser Valley Brewery site

‘We are committed to being a business and employer everyone in Chilliwack can be proud of’ says GM

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021 is International Lego Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 24 to 30

Lego Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day and Puzzle Day are all coming up this week

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

Most Read